by Erin Jones
They cry for hours,
bundled like cobs
of corn in deep summer.
I shake things for them, colored
rings just above their noses.
It only angers them more.
Always you find them milk-filled,
their cribs scooted to the best windows.
They can see it all—the cotton sheep, the fat little peaches.
They are offended by such comforts.
They are offended by our looming
and our staying-away.
They speak in a foreign tongue I can’t parse—
the banshee cry, the little fists beating
like hot stones against the mattress.
Looking across, we see creosote bushes
for miles and always, out of the corner
of an eye, something burrowing in yucca litter,
a blur of lizard tail or sidewinder. We are far
from the lights of Vegas. Here,
the rays soak through your pores
like Ambien. A few hours back,
we heard an audience break
into applause, but no one was there.
On hands and knees, we peer through the eyehole
of a coyote skull at a scorpion
with pinchers drawn, his stance like a gunfighter’s.
Later, in Cathedral Gorge, the cold air drowns us,
we can’t sleep in the static of silence. We run
until we become blurs, throwing our arms up
through the canyons of bentonite clay.